How can I make a bulletproof estate plan?

Make Your Estate Plan in 2018

As the year 2018 rapidly approaches, now is the time to consider your goals and resolutions for the year to come. Our Alabama estate planning lawyers urge anyone who does not yet have an estate plan to consider setting the creation of an estate plan as one of your New Year’s resolutions. For those with a plan in place, use the New Year to review your estate plan and make changes as necessary.

Why Make an Estate Plan?

You may believe that estate planning is just for the elderly or the wealthy. On the contrary, an estate plan is critically important for people of all ages and walks of life. In Alabama, if you die without an estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. For those without living family, your assets could go to the state. Even further, your heirs could be forced to wait some time for your assets to be distributed, and your hard earned assets may be heavily taxed. You can avoid all of this heartache and uncertainty for your family members by making an estate plan.

Estate Planning Essentials

Your bulletproof estate plan will start with a will. In your will, you can name who you want to receive what assets. A will gives you control over where your assets go and remove any uncertainty as to your last wishes. You can also name a proposed guardian for your minor child within your will. Even if you create a living trust, you should still have a will for this reason.

Some assets do not pass through probate, making it important that you name a beneficiary and keep that beneficiary updated for these assets. Assets that will not typically go through probate include your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Homes owned jointly will also avoid probate, with ownership going to the co-owner of the home involves a right of survivorship.

Trusts form another central component of a bulletproof estate plan. With a trust, you can place your assets within the trust so that they will pass directly to the named recipient without the need for probate. Trusts avoid taxation and the time delays associated with probate. Contact your estate planning lawyer to get started creating your estate plan today.